InVision Tampa Releases Draft Of City Center Plan

Thanks to help and input from nearly 800 Tampa residents, 1,000 online users and AECOM's globally recognized urban planners, the InVision Tampa project has released a draft of its City Center Plan.

The City Center -- a Texas-shaped area of Tampa -- spans from downtown Tampa to Ybor City on the east, Armenia Avenue on the west and north along Nebraska and Hillsborough Avenues, including the University of Tampa (UT) neighborhood, North Hyde ParkWest TampaTampa Heights, Ybor City, V.M. Ybor, downtown Tampa and the Channel District. The City Center Plan will act as a road map to transform the area.

InVision Tampa is going to create a blueprint for downtown Tampa for the next 25 years,” says Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “The community input and engagement on this planning effort was just extraordinary. With that kind of collaboration, I am even more confident that, together, we can make this happen.”

The plan focuses on re-centering downtown around the Hillsborough River, connecting area neighborhoods in a pedestrian-safe, transit-friendly manner while improving both the quality of life and economic development in the center of the city.

In the plan, the InVision Tampa team outlines 10 short-term and long-term ideas to help move the City of Tampa forward, helping to improve the city's urban core:

1. Nurture new river places that spur activity and create access to the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel, extending the economic value of the Center City waterfront.

2. Make the north downtown neighborhoods a multimodal, walkable area that extends the value of the Riverwalk and cultural venues east to Nebraska Avenue.

3. Establish streets and parks as primary elements of civic identity to catalyze downtown as the location of choice for new private development investment in the region.

4. Redevelop south downtown in a pattern of streets, blocks and public spaces that connect the Channel District with venues in the Downtown Core.

5. Reposition street corridors from traffic conduits to residentially oriented, balanced “Neighborhood Connectors” and local business “Main Streets.”

6. Rebalance Tampa and Florida Avenues as local streets, joining neighborhoods while providing regional access.

7. Develop an attractive, safe, cross-city, multipurpose trail that links the eastern and western Center City to neighborhoods and the Riverwalk.

8. Create a premium local transit route crossing the river from the Channel District to North Hyde Park to link residential, employment, and academic areas and capture “choice riders” as a mechanism for both transportation and economic development.

9. Continue on the mission of repositioning the large parcels of property within the Center City for development while supporting grassroots efforts for neighborhood improvements.

10. Leverage substantial education and healthcare assets and investments by linking their large workforce and student populations with community revitalization.

“In the draft process, we really took advantage of online social media. Residents provided input on what they liked and what they wanted to see more of in the downtown area,” says City of Tampa Urban Planning Coordinator Randy Goers. “We needed to take a look at our urban core because it hasn't been looked at in this standpoint in almost 20 years. We needed to take a look at a bigger area -- a more comprehensive look.”

Beginning in early December, expect additional outreach by the InVision Team as a draft plan focusing on the Nebraska Corridor develops, including community charrettes in early December. By early January, the project expects to begin a multi-year revitalization and transformation of the West Tampa area.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Mayor Bob Buckhorn & Randy Goers, City of Tampa
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